Sam Lawton's having a rough morning as he and his fellow employees load up into a bus and head for a work retreat. But as the bus starts over a bridge undergoing repairs Sam has a vision of the bridge collapsing and everyone dying terrible deaths. He quickly snaps out of it and gets a few of them off the bus in time but his victory is short lived as the lucky survivors start dying inexplicably one by one.
I still remember hitting up FINAL DESTINATION in theatres with some friends back in the day and I had a blast with it. What's not to love here? The premise of people surviving a near death tragedy that should have claimed their lives only to find out that you aren't so clever after all because death is coming back to smoke you, is awesome...that is unless you're the people on the list. Devon Sawa was also a cast favourite of mine back then, funny thing about that is, death seems to have claimed his career as I haven't seen him around since. Moving along with sequels was a no brainer, I mean this series has a crafty cart blanche by way of death being able to kill you in just about any and every ironic, messy or downright brutal way imaginable so I wasn't surprised to see the series breed.
But other than a couple memorable deaths (I still love part two's opening log accident the most) the series, though entertaining on some levels, became lazy, uninspired and eventually soulless. Horror sequels are horror sequels but with an equation like the one they have here you really should be able to push the envelope a little farther or at least explore different avenues in a more creative fashion. That said this newest fifth instalment brings the pain much like the original with strong characters that end up meaning something to you, a clever storyline (I loved the new idea about taking someone else's life) that ties in with the original one to create a very magical ending, and a series of deaths that actually appear to have some thought behind them for a change. I know, I was a little surprised myself.
The cast line up is admitted a strange one but be that as it may, it worked. First we have Nicholas D'Agosto who I enjoyed in TV's HEROES and in the surprisingly funny comedy FIRED UP. I think he realized this was a nice breakout role for him and as such delivered his A game. I also like Emma Bell, who likewise hasn't been in much but her roles in Adam Green's sinfully delicious FROZEN and the first season of THE WALKING DEAD clearly turned enough heads to get her here and she also doesn't disappoint. Naturally there's a slew of throwaway characters here as well, but the other magical face happens to belong to (the man) Tony Todd. His character might not have a lot of screen time but he's a foreboding presence that blends in nicely with the film's brooding tension.
FINAL DESTINATION 5 was one hell of a ride for a sequel so far into the series, and I almost can't believe I'm going to write this, but the 3D end of things actually worked well for a change (I particularly dug the opening shattering sequences as well as the homage to the many deaths from the series at the end of the film). Some will no doubt throw this series into the same bundle as the SAW films due to the string of deaths, blood and gore. I can understand that, but as a horror fan who enjoys both these franchises I can honestly say they're very different. This sequel gets some high praise though, higher than I anticipated giving it because I felt very satisfied when I left the theatre (mainly due to the sweet ending). Of course, it almost seems like Hollywood is putting more effort into sequels lately (FAST FIVE ) because I think they're starting to realize how fed up we're getting with remakes. Whatever the reason, I like it and I hope the trend continues.